July 4, 2022 – Joe was 13 when he started gambling with friends. In college, he became a bookie. “People would text me their bets. I kept a spreadsheet,” he said. “There were many Mondays when I would wake up and owe $1,000.”

In college, gambling took over Joe’s life. “We’d make ourselves miserable,” he recalled. “I used to gamble with my best friend until 5 a.m. and one of us owing the other thousands of dollars and being completely broke or in debt.” Joe knew his gambling was out of control but after college figured he could easily rein it in. “I was wrong,” he said. “I graduated in 2017 and for the next year gambled on illegal sites. I told my parents in 2018 that I had quit, but I was still doing fantasy football.”

When sports gambling became legal in New Jersey, Joe would take the train there to gamble online from his phone. “I learned you just had to be present in New Jersey to gamble, not actually live there. And you got paid right away. That was everything to me,” he said. “I won sometimes as much as $40,000 or $50,000 a day.”


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